...Dungannon fly half Gareth Steenson has been named in the Irish squad for next month's AIB Club International...
A 38-man squad for the first AIB Club International between Ireland and Scotland has been confirmed today.
The game, which will take place at Donnybrook on Friday, March 10,is part of the IRFU Community Rugby Programme that was launched at the beginning of the season. The game gives non-contracted club players the opportunity to win representative honours for Ireland and to showcase the club game at the highest possible level. Televised live by RTE, the game will have a 7.35pm kick-off.
The initial squad has been selected throughout the AIB League season to date with club coaches asked to put forward names of opposition players that have impressed them. In addition to this, a five-man team of selection advisors including Stephen Rooney, Philip Danaher, Finbar Dennehy, Ciaran Smith, and Hugh McCaughey have been monitoring games and recommending players for consideration.
The recommendations of the club coaches and selection advisors were then narrowed down by the Ireland management team of coach Geoff Moylan, manager Mick Galwey, assistant coach Gerald McCarter, assistant manager Donal Brennan and former Ireland and British & Irish Lions prop Phil Orr, who is part of the management team and chairman of the selection committee.
...Mick Galwey - Ireland's manager for the AIB Club International...
The selected squad represents 17 clubs from AIB League Divisions One, Two and Three across all of the four provinces and it will certainly be a difficult task to round down to the match-day 22 according to Irish manager Mick Galwey. The former Munster, Ireland and Lions lock said: "The response from the coaches from around the AIB League has been great. With so many players being put forward for consideration, it was a difficult decision for both the selection committee and management to bring us to the squad we now have. The next challenge is to pare it down even further to find our team for the game and with so many talented players, that won't be easy."
The squad will come together for a training session on Sunday next (February 26) after which the Ireland team and replacements will be selected. The team to play Scotland in the AIB Club International will be named by the Ireland management team at a media conference next Tuesday (February 28) at the AIB Bank Centre in Ballsbridge.
Tickets for the game will be available for purchase at the gate and are priced at 15 (stand), 10 (terrace) and 5 for school children.
IRELAND SQUAD (AIB CLUB INTERNATIONAL):
Forwards (22): Niall Carson (Clontarf), Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution), Niall Conlon (Dublin University), Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne), James Coughlan (Dolphin), Matthew Crockett (Dublin University), Kevin Croke (UCD), Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers), Chris Henry (Malone), Les Hogan (Shannon), Anthony Kavanagh (Garryowen), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Rory McGrath (Dolphin), Mark Melbourne (Garryowen), Cillian O'Byrne (St. Mary's College), David Quinlan (Buccaneers), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon), Thomas Ryan (Cork Constitution), Simon Shawe (Ballymena), Robert Sweeney (Clontarf), Marc Warburton (Dublin University).
Backs (16): Eoin Burke (Barnhall), David Delaney (Shannon), Stephen Grissing (UCD), Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution), Denis Hurley (UCC), Gerry Hurley (Garryowen), Derek Keane (Clontarf), Richard McCarter (City of Derry), James McGrugan (Ballymena), David McKechnie (Greystones), Niall O'Brien (Clontarf), Ciaran O'Boyle (Garryowen), Breiffne O'Donnell (Clontarf), Fiach O'Loughlin (Clontarf), Gareth Steenson (Dungannon), Glen Telford (Dungannon).